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Camry Power Loss


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Hi folks,

We have an 1987 Camry LE sedan, 4cyl, 255000 km. It is in VERY good condition -- the previous owners were religious about getting it in for regular service, and we have followed suit. We have found it perfectly reliable, except for this one problem with power loss. We have mentioned the problem to a couple different mechanics with no progress yet. The problem is so intermittent, its taken us the last 2 years to nail down the symptoms. We were hoping someone might have some suggestions:

The problem is sudden power loss -- when applying the throttle, the engine almost stalls, or very rarely, does stall. However, the conditions that precede this are very specific, otherwise it runs fine:

The conditions:

1. The car is not used for 24+ hrs.

2. It rains during that period.

3. The car has started and run fine for 2-3 mintues

4. We go around a sharp corner. This is less stringent - it can still happen without turning, but the problem is most frequent when we accelarate away from a turn at a 3 way stop.

5. If conditions 1&2 occur, but the car is only run for a short time, before the power loss occurs, then the next time we start the car, it is VERY hard to start -- a minute or more of turning over, and it often requires throttle application to get it going.

So, that is, we never see problems if the car is in frequent use or if it hasn't rained while its sitting. But if it sits unused in the rain, then there is either a brief fuel delivery or spark problem.

We have had it 'tested' by a mechanic, and he says the various sensors, etc. are all fine.

We have tried gas tank fuel treatments to deal with any water in there.

Some of the suggestions we've had are:

- electronic, because water in the fuel should last longer

- loose hoses, because the torques from turning could open up gaps allowing water (or wet air) in where it shouldn't be. we, in fact, did have a loose air intake hose, but that didn't solve the problem...

The only other thing I can add, is the engine does seem to be a little rough -- we have yearly tuneups, but its not quite the same as when we first bought it. The throttle response can be a little jumpy -- for example, if we are in 5th on the highway, in gear, but coasting, and then apply the throttle slowly, it doesn't acclearate seamlessly, but hesitates ever so slightly, and then acclerates -- a barely noticable lurch. I mention this because it _didn't_ do that for the 1st 8 months we owned it. (We were astounded at how smooth it was, after our 81 Malibu 3 speed manual!). Throttle response was smooth, it was very easy to slip the clutch smoothly, etc. And then we had a tuneup, and it hasn't been quite as smooth since. I'm not certain of when the power loss problems started in relation to this -- the symptoms seemed so erratic at first, I can't be sure.

So there you are -- we are at a loss (haha)... anyone have any ideas?



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

since ur cap/rotor and plugs have been changed... check the fuel filter also if u have had ur car's timing chain changed with the waterpump??

also when this occurs does the check engine light come on?? if it does u should have it checked out again maybe by another mechanic since u said this all started after ur tune up... a second opinion from another mechanic would be nice...

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  • 1 month later...

Hi I too have a Toyota Camry 1991 LE. I am also facing a similar problem. If I use my car during the rain, the engine stalls on me and all the warning signs go on. Especially if I stop for a moment (like a stop light), the car stops and does not start again. It's getting really frustrating and any pointers will be well appreciated.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I used to have a 1989 Camry that had similar problems. About 10 mins after it was started and usually at my first stop light, upon accelleration it would chug and hiccup and usually stall. After a couple of minutes the condition would subside. Replaced plugs and wires and cap TWICE. Seemed okay for awhile. sold the car to someone months later.

Evidently the condition came back. I believe they had to replace the distributor, not just the cap the entire distributor. They call that the "coil pack" sometimes right?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Camry 89 - 4 cyl. 326000km by now...

Same problem finally got fixed about 2 years ago. Never have the same problem since then.

It was a known problem with Camry's ignition coils. "Moisture Sealing" problem that only shows up in a humid/rainy day.

Simply change the ignition coil. I spent $120 CDN on parts and $120 CDN on labour.


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